DIY Trad Tailoring: Turning OCBD Collar

Discussion in 'Andy's Trad Forum' started by hardline_42, May 25, 2013.

  1. hardline_42

    hardline_42 Honors Member

    United States
    New Jersey
    Mount Holly
    A hidden benefit of the OCBD is the ability to use both sides of the button down collar. Most point and spread collar shirts have collar stay pockets on the back side, but the BD collar is identical front to back. When the front side starts to fray, you can easily "turn" the collar by removing it, flipping it and stitching back in place. I had a few minutes this morning while doing laundry and decided to snap a few pics while I did it.

    Things you'll need:

    a) OCBD with frayed collar but decent shirt body
    b) Seam ripper and/or razor blade
    c) Pins
    d) Sewing machine or needle and thread and lots of patience

    Here's the shirt when I started. I apologize for the dingy collar, but I did it before washing, while I waited for a load to finish.


    You can see how badly it had frayed after about two years of once-a-week wear. That doesn't speak too well for Lands' End quality, IMO, but at least I'll get another two years out of it for ten minutes worth of work.


    The backside, on the other hand, is perfect:


    The first step is removing the collar. Do it from the backside so that any snags in the fabric or mistakes will be hidden. This particular collar had two lines of stitching holding the collar to the collar band even though only one is visible. The band is sewn upside down to the collar, then folded over and stitched down again. It would be impossible to repeat this without detaching and flipping the band as well, but then I would have to deal with the button and button hole being reversed. No thanks. One row of stitching will do:


    The next step is to flip the collar and pin it back into place between the two sides of the collar band. Start by pinning both ends, then the center, and fill in with pins in between. Although this picture shows the pins below the seam, I recommend pinning it directly on the seam. That way, you can make sure the pin is going through both sides of the collar band in exactly the same place and you won't miss any of it on the backside when you sew it. This isn't crucial if you're sewing by hand.


    The final step is to sew the collar back on. If you pinned it carefully this should go off without a hitch. Stitch with the front side up in the machine. That way, any wavy seams or snags will be hidden on the backside. Use the tightest/smallest straight stitch possible. Make sure to backstitch at both ends of the collar for reinforcement. Voila!


    As I said earlier, I only had a few minutes to get it done, but I recommend you take your time and remove all of the stray threads from the seam you ripped, frayed oxford cloth threads etc. for a clean result. This shirt can now go back into my regular rotation:

    Last edited: May 25, 2013
  2. g3dahl

    g3dahl Active Member with Corp. Privileges

    Thanks for posting this! I have some shirts that definitely will benefit from this procedure.
  3. oxford cloth button down

    oxford cloth button down Super Member

    United States
    Main Street USA
    Just awesome Hardline! Thanks for the tutorial.
  4. Dieu et les Dames

    Dieu et les Dames Super Member

    United States
    Gulf Breeze
    very cool.

    ​Thank you for taking the time to illustrate!
  5. KayGee

    KayGee New Member

    United States
    The shirt looks great! Thanks for the photos.
  6. sbdivemaster

    sbdivemaster Super Member

    United States
    That's a excellent work! My pins never look all neat and straight like that! lol.gif
  7. emptym

    emptym Active Member with Corp. Privileges

    United States
    Great job! Fwiw, I never wear collar stays, so when I have shirts made, I get even spread collared shirts made w/o pockets for stays so I can flip them like this.
  8. toddorbertBU

    toddorbertBU Active Member with Corp. Privileges

    United States
    Great post. Thanks for sharing.
  9. Sgpearl

    Sgpearl Active Member with Corp. Privileges

    United States
    Los Angeles
    Cool! I could not do this myself. Any idea what a tailor would / should charge?
  10. Yuca

    Yuca Active Member with Corp. Privileges

    Great Britain
    I've got around 10 shirts that need this treatment; all Brooks Makers bds that certainly deserve a new lease of life. As it so happens, last week I finally found someone willing to sort them out for me. His quote was: collar £20, collar and cuffs £30. (He did point out that the sewing on the button holes is different on the back, however I really don't think that matters.)

    ​Personally I would rather pay than risk doing it myself, but props to hardline 42 for his seamsterring skills.

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